Tax Legal Definitions
There’s a very old scam out there. It’s been around so long and it’s so common, you have to assume it’s often successful. Someone calls you out of the blue. They sound very serious, very severe. They tell you they’re from the IRS, that you owe back taxes, and if you don’t pay up right then and there, they promise dire consequences. Maybe they even have a friend on the line to pretend to be your local sheriff, explaining that officers are ready to come and arrest you if you fail to comply.
The good news is that this scam is an empty threat. Although it is possible for tax trouble to lead to criminal prosecution, this just isn’t how the IRS operates. They have no reason to send police to your door when they can place liens and garnish wages. More the point, the IRS doesn’t call taxpayers out of the blue. Their first line of contact is always a written notice, delivered by US mail.
Recent legislation, however, has opened the door for the IRS and other federal agencies to make robocalls. The emergency budget plan passed earlier this year and signed by President Obama authorizes federal agencies to make debt collection calls. The IRS are reviewing the legislation and taking steps to implement a program. There’s no word yet on just what that will look like. There’s obvious concern that this may make it harder for people to tell the difference between legitimate contact from the IRS and someone trying to scam them.
Whatever the program ends up looking like, you can be sure that the IRS is still not going to call you, demand credit card or bank information right then and there, with a promise of a police response otherwise. Still if the IRS is making debt collection calls, one assumes a clever scammer will try to model their approach as much as possible upon the IRS’s legitimate calls. The whole point of the scam, after all, is to convince the person on the other end of the phone that they’re talking with an IRS agent.
The program may never come to mass. Legislation has been proposed that would repeal Section 301 of the Budget Act of 2015, the section that authorizes the IRS and other federal agencies to make debt collection calls. But if the legislation stands, taxpayers may face confusion when receiving calls claiming to be from the IRS.
Horowitz Law Offices represents taxpayers before the IRS, the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Chicago Department of Finance to resolve their tax controversies. You are welcome to contact us at (312) 787-5533 or firstname.lastname@example.org